Yesterday Dr. Corey Guyton shared how insecurity and cultural expectations almost prevented him from supporting his wife’s natural hair journey. In this piece, Corey’s wife Chutney shares her point of view.
By Dr. Chutney Guyton of The Genuine Scholar
Initially, I was not sure if I should respond at all to my husband’s article on our “natural journey” and why he did not want me to be natural, but I will admit that it has been quite fun to watch it explode onto the social media scene. I didn’t even know he had planned to write on this topic, but as I have watched other women share not only the article, but their stories of returning to and being natural, I have felt even more empowered as a Black woman, yet saddened at the same time. I have felt empowered by the large number of Black women standing true to their decision to return to the way God made them, but saddened to hear that so many Black men (and women as well) are still blinded by their own insecurities and the influence of the media’s obsession with mainstream ideas of beauty based on the physical features of Whites. It is clear that Corey’s experience(s) have resonated with many people, and as his wife, words cannot express how grateful and appreciative I am for all the support you have shown him and his choice to make himself vulnerable by expressing his former and reformed views on natural hair. I am so very proud of him for his courage to share his story in an attempt to help others through his own experiences.
One thing I eventually learned about my transition process was that the transition was not mine alone, but my husband’s as well. What I mean is that by the time I went to Corey with my thoughts on returning to my natural roots, I had already mentally and psychologically prepared myself for the journey. All that was left was my physical transition. I had done my research, talked to other women, and thought through the effects (good and/or bad) in my head already. In other words, my mind was made up. So when I presented my decision to Corey, it wasn’t for his permission as much as it was for his support as the man that I loved and that I knew loved me.
But in order to be fair, I knew that I would have to meet him where he was—which at that time and by his own admission, was blinded and ignorant. A lot of the work had to be done by Corey, hence the introspection he talked about in his article. However, knowing how big of a change this would be for him (because it was going to be for me as well), I felt it was important that I help him to understand WHY this change was so important for me. We talked often and at length about what led me to return to being natural, and I immediately began sending Corey all sorts of articles, videos, websites, and more on the natural journey, images of women with natural styles, and ways in which he could support me throughout the process.
It didn’t happen overnight, but he eventually came around. I had to understand that while I had already gone through my own process of taking off the blinders—it took me over 20 years to become comfortable with being natural—and wading through my own ignorance, my sweet husband had just begun his. And I needed to be a little patient. That patience paid off big time because once Corey’s eyes were opened—they were TOTALLY opened. He even gave me a few natural T‑shirts to celebrate my new look soon after my big chop nearly four years ago!
Since Corey’s own transition, he has become one of the biggest advocates I know for ALL natural women and the concept of them growing to love and accept themselves, particularly in terms of their hair, the way God made them. In fact, when I came to him about my decision to cut my hair completely off for the second time a few weeks ago, his response was a simple, “Okay”. I found out later that he was not even sure why I felt the need to consult him in the first place!
At no point did I ever feel that Corey did not love me, but I was aware that he was ignorant when it came to a Black woman’s identity as it relates to her hair. So for the sistas out there who are struggling to get a man’s support of your natural journey, stand firm in YOUR decision, but give him an opportunity to remove the blinders. Education is the key to breaking free of oppression, so encourage him to become more educated about the topic. Those men who truly love us for who we are and what we represent as strong, beautiful Black women will wise up and those who do not will fade away. Stay strong sistas!